In an exciting but certainly trend-setting development, the GAME Bundesverband, the leading association of the German computer games industry, has founded a collecting society for providers and developers of computer games. This decision marks an important step in the recognition and appreciation of the creative and economic contributions of the computer games industry. It is a clear signal that the industry is ready to face the challenges of the digital age and protect the rights of its members.
The founding of the collecting society is a milestone in the history of the German games industry. It shows that the industry is not only capable of developing innovative and entertaining games, but also that it is ready to face the complex issues of copyright. With the foundation of the collecting society, the GAME Bundesverband sends a strong signal for the future of the industry and underlines the importance of game development as a cultural and economic force.
This development is not only important for the members of the GAME Bundesverband, but for the entire industry. It sends a clear message to developers, publishers, and players alike: Game developers’ rights are important and deserve protection. It’s a move that will strengthen the industry and help it compete in an increasingly digital world.
What is a collecting society?
Collecting societies play a crucial role in the copyright system. They obtain copyrights to their works from their members, who are usually artists, authors, and other creative professionals. This can include a variety of media, from movies and music to computer games.
The main task of a collecting society is to collect copyright royalties. These levies apply to the purchase of devices such as computers, smartphones and storage media that can be used to make private copies. The basic idea here is that these devices and media are often used to make copies of copyrighted works without the copyright owner receiving any compensation.
To redress this imbalance, the collected levies are then distributed to the members of the collecting society. This ensures that authors are compensated for the use of their works, even if this use takes the form of private copying.
It is important to emphasize that the work of collecting societies benefits not only authors, but also consumers. By ensuring that creators are compensated for the use of their works, collecting societies help ensure that creative content can continue to be produced and made available to the public.
In Germany, there are several collecting societies that cover different areas of creative work. These include GEMA, which represents the rights of music authors and publishers, VG Wort, which is responsible for authors and publishers of text works, and VG Bild-Kunst, which represents the interests of visual artists. With the establishment of the collecting society for computer games by the GAME Bundesverband, the computer games industry is now also represented in this important area of copyright law.
Overall, collecting societies make a significant contribution to promoting creativity and maintaining a fair and balanced copyright system.
The collecting society for computer games
By founding the collecting society for computer games, the GAME Bundesverband wants to ensure that games companies receive remuneration for private copies of their protected game content. Only games companies that own ancillary copyrights can be members of the collecting society.
Membership in the collecting society is limited to games companies that own ancillary copyrights in video games. These are usually companies that develop or publish games. Membership is not limited to companies based in Germany. International companies can also become members, provided they own ancillary copyrights to games published in Germany.
Membership in the collecting society is voluntary. Companies that become members transfer to the collecting society the right to collect copyright royalties on their behalf for private copies of their games. In return, members receive compensation from the collected levies.
It is important to emphasize that the creation of the collecting society does not mean that game companies can no longer make their games freely available. The collecting society only collects levies for private copies, i.e. copies made by individuals for personal use. Game companies can still decide whether and how to make their games available to the public.
The establishment of the collecting society is an important step in recognizing the economic and creative contributions of the games industry. It ensures that game companies are compensated for the use of their games and helps ensure that the industry can continue to produce innovative and entertaining games.
Impact on Let’s Players and Streamers
The creation of the collecting society raises questions about the costs for Let’s Players and streamers. Until now, if the producer did not explicitly allow the use, Let’s Players and streamers often committed copyright infringement. However, this use was often accepted for marketing reasons and because it is free advertising.
The good news for private users is that they do not have to pay directly for private copies of games. The private copying remuneration is paid by the manufacturers of devices and storage media such as PCs and hard drives, smartphones or tablets. The amount of the remuneration is generally based on the benefits and the corresponding damage.
It is important to note that the private copying exception covers only copies for private, i.e. non-commercial, purposes. Reproductions made for a commercial purpose, e.g. by commercially acting YouTubers or Twitch streamers, are not covered by private copying. A profit-making purpose already exists if remuneration is sought; advertising funding is also such remuneration.
The collecting society for the producers of games wants remuneration for private copies on privately used PCs and hard disks. In many of the actions typical of games culture, legally permitted private copies are made – sometimes unknowingly. Examples include video recordings, roleplay servers, highlight recordings, duplications during editing, forums, social media, support requests, recordings for personal use (digital video recorder) and reaction videos, esports and screenshots.
Let’s players are of course only one possible exploiter, who so far do not actually pay any levy, although they sometimes should or, if one is honest, perhaps “should”. It is important that we find a fair and balanced solution that takes into account both the rights of game developers and the interests of Let’s Players and streamers. The establishment of the collecting society is an important step in this direction.
Of course, I cannot yet accurately assess who may be or will be called upon in the future. However, the creation of the collecting society and the explicit mention in GAME’s FAQ and press releases are reminiscent of the many discussions with clients in the influencer and streamer space on the topic of copyright.
It’s a topic that has been causing debate in the industry for some time. The question of how copyright should be handled in the digital world, especially in the context of Let’s Play and streaming, is complex and requires careful consideration of the interests of all parties involved.
The foundation of the collecting society by the GAME Bundesverband is an important step in this direction. It shows that the industry is ready to face these issues and seek solutions that take into account both the rights of game developers and the interests of Let’s Players and streamers.
The foundation of the collecting society by the GAME Bundesverband is a significant step for the computer games industry in Germany. It recognizes the creative and economic contributions of game developers and ensures that they are compensated for private copies of their games. For Let’s Players and streamers, little will change for the time being as long as they continue their activities in the private, non-commercial sphere.
This move underscores the relevance and growth of the computer games industry, not only as an entertainment medium, but also as a major industry and cultural asset. It shows that the industry is ready to face the challenges of the digital age and protect the rights of its members.
It is also a sign of the increasing professionalization of the industry. With the establishment of the collecting society, the games industry is taking an active role in shaping the legal framework for its activities. It champions the interests of its members and helps to ensure that the industry can remain innovative and creative in the future.
For Let’s Players and streamers, this means they can continue to focus on their passion while respecting the rights of game developers. As long as they continue their activities in the private, non-commercial sector, little will change for them for the time being. However, it is important that they are aware of and respect the legal framework.
Overall, the establishment of the collecting society is an important step in the right direction. It helps to create a balanced and fair copyright system that takes into account the interests of all stakeholders. It remains to be seen how the situation will evolve in the coming years, but it’s clear that the industry is ready to face the challenges and find solutions that suit both game developers and Let’s Players and streamers.